The lots have been announced for the annual showdown in the desert with the big three auction houses offering no fewer than 401 cars from the 17th January to the 19th January.
Bonhams kick off proceedings with a mammoth single day 120 car lot auction. The combined bottom end of all lots is over $33 million (£22.2m) with the highest billing going to the 1954 Ferrari Mondial Series 1 Spider by Pinin Farina, with a top end estimate of $6m.
As with last year's top lot, the 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder, that hammered way above top end, Bonhams will hope that the combination of provenance and a top class restoration will convince buyers to spend a premium for this example.
That isn’t the only similarity to last year with some 80% of the catalogue being auctioned at ‘No Reserve’, consigners have either faith in Bonhams ability to drive a fair price or a feeling that the time is now to move the car on. This certainly means that the sell through rate will be rather pleasing to the powers that be.
The highest estimated lot at ‘No Reserve’ is the $1m - $1.4m 1934 Mercedes Benz 500k. This particular example was delivered to the UK as a RHD rolling chassis, 1 of just 8. The car has been restored, appears to bring great provenance and is a custom bodied 500k, although at ‘No Reserve’ lets see how this one fairs.
The Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz are two of 8 lots being offered which are RHD. Buyers on this side of the Atlantic will also be interested in the 1934 Bentley 3.5L bodied by Thrupp & Maberly and the 1965 Aston Martin DB5, the former going under the hammer at ‘No Reserve’. Although the Aston Martin has a estimate of $700,000 - $800,000, it wasn’t that long ago that would have been the estimate in GBP rather than USD.
On the same day, the RM Sotheby’s team will pick up the baton for the evening shift, splitting their 157 lots across consecutive evenings.
RM Sotheby’s takes the honour of offering the most expensive car across the big three. A 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale by Pinin Farina and with an estimate of $11m - $13m, the Reserve needs to have been well negotiated to ensure that buyers aren’t tempted to get an early night before an early morning trip to the Grand Canyon although if history is anything to go by the Canadian outfit do generally get their headline lots away.
Not only has RM Sotheby’s taken the honour of the highest priced lot, the outfit has the lowest average year of car offered at 1967. That said, they also have the highest number of cars dated after 2010!
Surprised, me too.
It is a 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta again at RM Sotheby’s with an estimate of $6.5m - $8.5 that is the 2nd highest listing, which again will need some work to get anywhere near the top but these 2 listings contribute to potentially the highest grossing auction at $69.2m.
Last but by no means least is Gooding & Co who like its two predecessors have a Ferrari headlining their auction, Gooding has gone one better than RM Sotheby’s to include no fewer than 7 of its top 10 billed lots from the V12 stable of Maranello.
Whisper it, but the 1964 Prototype Ferrari 275 GTB by Scaglietti would be our pick of the top lots. A car that oozes history, a car that has been finished to the spec it drove the Monte Carlo rally in, the car does require mechanical work but is an interesting prospect, if that can be used for a car estimated at $6m - $8m.
Gooding & Co have listed 52% of the lots at ‘No Reserve’ the lowest of the three auction houses, so Charlie Ross will have his work cut out for him to drum up interest. Once the heavy hitting lots have been and gone, the ‘No Reserve’ percentage quickly rises. Below $250,000 (nearly 50% of the auction), 8% of the lots have reserves.
If you are $5.8m short for the 275 GTB, then you can get some V12 Ferrari magic in the form of a 1964 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 estimate at $200,000 but ‘No Reserve’.
The schedule will be packed and frantic, not to mention that there is also the main Barrett-Jackson event which started on the 14th January.
Oh, and Worldwide Auctioneers plus Russo & Steele present in Scottsdale.